In recent years Christmas has gotten a bum rap.
It's become cheapened, materialized, even defamed. And too many people have tried to secularize the holiday as well. They've wanted to take the "Christmas" out of December 25.
Perhaps the greatest horror is that Halloween has grown in popularity and, but some accounts, now seems to rival Christmas.
But Christmas has a stubborn way of re-emerging -- not just because we need it but because it really is deeply meaningful. Still, we must all do our part to continue to refocus on Christmas and nurture this glorious celebration.
With that in mind, here are our 25 Reasons To Love Christmas:
1) The Nativity. Mary, Joseph and the Christ child. The true meaning of the day and the rightful center of our focus.
2) Fresh Christmas greens. Fragrant, vivid and constant, evergreens help us look forward to the seasons ahead.
3) Christmas trees. A link to the natural world that we enhance during the Christmas season. But it really doesn't matter whether your tree is natural are not. It's the sentiment that counts!
4) Angels we have heard on high. To quote Chekov: "We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."
5) Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and all the other great books and stories about Christmas.
6) Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" and all the other classic Christmas movies that have become treasured traditions.
7) Christmas lights. From the ones in your window or on your lawn to the department store spectacles, they all shine brightly and send a shimmering message of hope.
8) Snow. Or at least the thought of snow. It's the one time of the year that many of us can tolerate the white stiff. And ooohhh, those snowflakes!
9) Silent Night and all the other Christmas carols as well as more modern, popular Christmas songs.
10) Christmas around the world. Joyeux Noel. Feliz Navidad. Buon Natale. Mele Kalikimaka. God Jul.
11) Christmas with our troops. Let's not forget them as they protect us while everyone else celebrates.
12) Christmas Eve. A night for reflection and high anticipation.
13) The march of the wooden soldiers and all those other wonderful Christmas toys.
14) Jingle Bells. The sound of these festive bells is the sound of Christmas calling.
15) Christmas morning. The fulfillment of wonder.
16) Christmas scents: Gingerbread, evergreens, panettone, roast turkey, sugar 'n spice.
17) Mistletoe. Still a great excuse for kissing, IF you need one.
18) The Italian Seven Fishes Feast. If you haven't enjoyed it, you haven't known Christmas Eve.
19) Christmas cookies. The sweetest annual indulgence.
20) Family. As much as we sometimes complain, we're grateful for all of them, right?
21) Country Christmas. If you haven't been to Nashville or Branson at Christmas, well . . . .
22) Silver Bells. Especially the ones that the Salvation Army rings. Have you given this year?
23) Christmas excess. C'mon, it only happens once a year.
24) Christmas candy. You can always start your diet on January 2.
25) Christmas in your heart. Treasure it!
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